Perioral Dermatitis Safe Products: My Favorites for Sensitive Skin

Perioral Dermatitis is a skin rash that can be red, itchy, flaky on your chin, cheeks, or eyes. It typically effects young, white women and can be hard to clear up. If you would like to see pictures of the rash, click here.

My perioral dermatitis started at 21 years old during my senior year of college when I was really stressed out.

Since the rash popped up over night (literally) at 21, I have managed to get rid of it, have a full attack of it 3 months after it cleared, and then a few flare ups in the past year and a half. The flares have been very small and definitely relate to stress. The products below have REALLY helped clear up my perioral dermatitis and prevent break outs.

From reader emails and personal research, people with perioral dermatitis should avoid products with:

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)- This chemical is heavily restricted in Canada and Europe; however, it is even in baby products in the U.S.
  2. Parabens – Parabens are known to disrupt the body’s hormones and endocrine system. They are also very harsh irritants when applied to the skin. These chemicals are found in most cosmetics and cleansers.
  3. Whiteners and Bleaches – Skip these all together! If it bleaches, it has to be harsh.

Below you will find my favorite products that are also Perioral Dermatitis safe products.

All products below are free of the 3 ingredients above.

Each picture is linked to the product so you can click and order easily. They are mostly through Drugstore.com because it is the cheapest.

I am not a doctor and do not have a medical certification. I am only sharing my story.

Best Skincare for Perioral Dermatitis

Nightly Moisturizer 

I used Say Yes to Blueberries this year too. I love the Overnight Hydrating Cream even in the morning on any dry spots including my chin (my problem area for dermatitis). It is very moisturizing without being greasy or clogging my skin. The pump it is in makes it easy to get out just enough and is very sanitary.  The blueberry line also helps with aging.

Daily Moisturizer

If you have oily skin, you may like the daily moisturizer instead. It also is very soft, non greasy, and helps sooth irritated skin.

Makeup Removing Wipes

Since having Perioral Dermatitis, the ease of my facial routine has went out the window. I have to be so careful to avoid a breakout. These wipes are AMAZING. They are under $10 for 30, and they are also moisturizing. I use these when I travel or am just really tired.

Daily Cleanser

This cleanser is awesome. You can feel how gentle and creamy it is before you even apply it to your face. It is very gentle, and I even put it on my chin. It’s also under $10 and lasts forever!! Love this stuff.

Best Chapstick

My perioral dermatitis is around my chin and lips when it flares so a safe chapstick is a must. Kiss My Face’s goes on well, is not too greasy or too hard, and it tastes good.

Best for Wrinkles/Anti-Aging

I love, love, love this stuff. My mom, 42 years old, ordered it for her. She really liked it, and I had stopped using anything anti-wrinkle because of the irritating ingredients. I was looking over her bottles, and it has only safe ingredients (from my research). I have used it since December and really like it. It helps moisturize your skin as well as help with fine lines. You can also read her review on Derm Exclusive here.

Please note brands like Simple or Cetaphil are NOT completely safe or free of  harsh ingredients. They brand themselves as products for sensitive skin, but they contain sulfates and/or parabens.

Best Makeup for Perioral Dermatitis

Best Tinted Moisturizer

This tinted moisturizer is the closest thing I can find to what my dermatologist personally sales in her office. It hydrates, calms redness, reduces inflammation, and also helps with skin’s texture. It also has SPF in it to help with the irritation from the sun. It’s pricey, but you can always do half tinted and half regular moisturizer to make it last even longer.

Can’t Wait to Try!!! Primer

I have not tried this yet, but I used to be addicted to primer. I had to stop using it because so many brands have parabens or sulfates. Tarte’s new primer is “safe” though, and it helps balance your skin’s texture before applying your makeup. I hope this will help with the oily to super dry spots from perioral dermatitis.

*They also have a brightening primer without parabens or sulfates.

Best Concealer

concealer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I LOVE this stuff. If nothing else, this is a must-have. It builds easily, and it even lasts pretty well on the bridge of my nose which gets very red. I put it on before my foundation on the red spots, let it dry, apply foundation, and pat with powder after the foundation is dry. (If you do it before it is dry, it will look cakey).

Best Powder

Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder helps prevent sun damage which can be heightened because of the mediciation prescribed for Perioral Dermatitis. It also helps moisturize and sooth skin as soon as you apply because it has algae extracts in it. I have not tried it personally yet, but others have loved it and will never use anything again.

Best Bronzer

Paraben Free Bronzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bronzer is light enough that I don’t look orange. It goes on easily, and it has lasted a long time.

Best Mascara
Dermatitis Eye Makeup
After reading that some people get perioral dermatitis on their eyes and eyelids, I was really nervous about using anything. It still scares me to be honest because I imagine it is painful. This mascara contains no known triggers, and it actually helps your eyelashes get stronger. 91% of testers saw an improvement in their lashes.

Best (?) Cream Eyeshadow
Perioral Dermatitis Safe Products
I say “Best?” because I have not tried it; however, it is safe and does not rub off easily. Tarte says, it “protects against sweat, tears, and creasing for hours of wear time”. I’ll definitely try it. If someone tries it before me, will you let me know how you like it?

Best Palette Eyeshadow
Makeup for Sensitive Skin
This palatte comes with several natural colors, and it is easy to carry when you travel. It also is more mineralized than a drugstore brand which means you have to use less for a more vibrant eye. The PRIMER is NOT safe though that comes with it. It has parabens galore. Skip the free gift.

Tarte Eyeliner 

I haven’t tried this yet, but I will. Right now I have Urban Decay’s but I am worried of it’s ingredients.

Studio Sculpt Foundation 

Mac Studio Sculpt Makeup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love Mac’s Studio Sculpt makeup because it has a good level of coverage to balance out the redness caused by perioral dermatitis. It also is lighter than most fuller coverage foundations. It is pretty moisturizing as well and comes out as a foamy liquid.

Just a note about Rose Water products:

To freshen makeup put distilled water in a spray bottle–resist the urge to try a rose water but if you do check the ingredients so many have parabens and sulfates and are over $30

Best Hair Products for Perioral Dermatitis

You may think hair products that are safe for perioral dermatitis is overboard, but these products come in close contact with our face multiple times each week. With how easy a flare up can happen, I try not to risk anything.

Best Shampoo (Drugstore)
L’Oreal Sulfate Free Shampoo

paraben free shampoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Conditioner 

paraben free shampoo

Best Leave-in Conditioner
Paraben Free Leave in Conditioner

This stuff makes my hair so soft and healthy. I have been growing it out for 2 years, and I put this in it every time I wash my hair.

Other Items for Perioral Dermatitis

Best Toothpaste
Toothpaste for Senstiive Skin

Finding a toothpaste that met the requirements was so hard. Even Colgate’s Cavity Protection that seems so bare-minimum had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in it! “Organic” brands also had whiteners or sodium lauryl suflate too! Crazy! Sensodyne is the best I have found; however, it is pricey and does not last long. If anyone has a better suggestion, please email me. I’ll be very grateful!

Best Shea Butter Scrub

Sulfate Free Body Butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use scrub all over to help my skin from getting dry and itching. I don’t know if dermatitis spreads, but just in case I stay moisturized and avoid the 3 ingredients listed above.

Best Lotion

Again, the more moisturized by natural products I am, the better I feel. This lotion lasts a long time, keeps me moisturized, has a very light smell, and is not greasy. It is also cheap!

Best Sunscreen
Sulfate Free Sunscreen

Be very careful when picking a sunscreen. Even some of the fancy face products from name brands like Neutrogena have irritating ingredients in it. Irritants mixed with sun and possibly sand is an awful combination.

Best Shaving Cream
Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin

Shaving causes very small tears and breaks in the skin. You want to make sure these fragile spots gets only non-irritating ingredients.

Remember even the “organic” or “sensitive” products can contain sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens. The price, marketing, and the brand does not matter. Always read the labels especially if you have perioral dermatitis.

(click for drugstore.com promo codes)

I hope this extensive product guide will help anyone with Perioral Dermatitis or even just sensitive skin. These products are the most natural, safe products I have found in the past 3 years. A lot of them are also relatively inexpensive (thank goodness!) If you have anymore you’d like to add, please email me.
Save 20% on everything in the beauty department at drugstore.com! Offer ends 03.08.2013.

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Comments

  1. Oh my goodness. I’m 18 and was diagnosed with Perioral Dermatitis shortly after I entered my freshman year at WashU. When I was diagnosed, I was told NOTHING about what I was supposed to do or avoid. They gave me some topical stuff to put on and that seemed to help for a little bit, but it just gets worse with stress and caffeine. I had no idea what to avoid or even look for when it came to skincare and I didn’t even think my rash was a big deal because it’s pretty mild. But then it started to just become a pain. Nothing covered it, or if it did, the scaly texture of my skin would show through within an hour of putting makeup on. By coincidence, one of my roommates got the St. Ives lotion which I used on my face because EVERYTHING else was irritating, and it was the only thing that made my face not sting or peel. Seriously, I cannot thank you enough for posting this, because a) I know what to avoid, b) I have an arsenal of products that are easy access and c) I know I’m not alone.

    • Hey Marina,

      I’m so glad I could help just a little bit. Mine started in college too–I honestly think we get too stressed! It seems like most of the people I talk to are in college or about to get married. I’m so glad you found the lotion–I think trying to cover the texture is the toughest part. It can get better though especially once you figure out what to use and get a routine down for school :) If you find anything else that works I’d love to know so I can add it for everyone too :)

      Good luck and thanks for commenting!! It’s always nice to know someone else is out there dealing with the same thing.
      Kalee

  2. Thank you for posting!!! just found out that I have this wicked condition. May I ask what the tinted moisturizer you use? I am unable to read the label and there is no link. By the way I am 52 and just got diagnosed. I am hoping for a recovery the gave me low dose antibiotics for 60 days. I hope it helps.
    Thank you,
    Ava

  3. Hi! Thank you so much for posting this. I just found that I have this and Im only 14! My school doesn’t allow makeup but I have to cover this up because its so ugly. But the makeup becomes really noticeable because of the texture of my skin and then i feel embarrassed and i dont want People to see so i avoid looking at people. I’m going to try some of these products and I really hope it gets better. There have been a lot of nights where I cry myself to sleep because of this.

    • Carla, I’m 29 years old and I’ve cried a lot about this, too (I’ve always had very nice and soft skin until a few months ago). But, besides following your dermatologist’s instructions, eating healthier, and using natural products, you MUST stay positive! Things will get better and you have to tell yourself that everyday. The more you cry, the worse it will get!

  4. Hello! This is super helpful! I recently realized that I’ve had this awful rash for 3 or 4 months on my formerly flawless face. Of course, this is after I thought it was dry skin/acne and I slathered every harsh chemically loaded serum/cream/mask/steroid/etc known to man on my face. I did find a new toothpaste that I really like. It’s called Botanique by Himalaya Herbal Healthcare. It’s Flouride/Saccharin/SLS/Gluten Free! And it actually tastes good and so far I really like it. I bought it at Sprouts for about $6.50 for a 5.3oz tube. Hope that might be helpful!

    Have you changed your laundry detergents/fabric softeners? I’ve been using Method which is *mostly* natural but does still contain some sulphates including SLS.

    Thank you!

    • Wow! Thanks for the toothpaste tip!! I had been looking everywhere for another brand. I can’t wait to try it.

      I have switched to All’s nonscented, but it isn’t as organic as most. I do hand wash my pillow cases though since they come into contact with my face consistently.

  5. Madeline says:

    Hello what about ammonium laureth sulfate?

    • I haven’t come across a lot of information on that specific sulfate, but I do know sulfates in general are harsh on your skin.

      • I live in Canada, and even though you stated our Government considers SLS toxic, I found it in a lot of products in my house. It was in every single bottle of shampoo and toothpaste that I own. I don’t believe that SLS is heavily restricted, and you can find out more about it on the Government of Canada website about safety of cosmetics (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/cosmet-person/cons/safety-innocuite-eng.php). I’m thinking it’s because a lot of the products we get in Canada are actually American products, and really we’re not about to cut off products from the States that contain SLS. Anyway, I’ve had bouts of dermatitis over the years, so I really enjoyed reading about your experience & safe products to use.

  6. Just wanted to say thanks for posting this list. Came across it when researching about perioral dermatitis. Went out and bought the burt’s bees wash and the Yes To Blueberries moisturizer right away and I love them.

  7. Alison says:

    Thank you so much for this. I have just developed this and it hurts, is sore and I hate it. stress appears to have been the main trigger as I havent changed any of my skincare and most of the stuff I use is for sensitive skin and doesnt use much SLS. Might look at my sunscreen and foundation though as I am a make up junkie. Unfortunately I live in the UK so some of this stuff isnt available here. Shall search around though. THANKS

  8. Rembrant and Tom’s sells an SLS free toothpaste, they are both pretty good. I usually get mine from drugstore.com, there is normally a deal on one of them.

  9. Kaylee, Thanks for posting some very helpful information about perioral dermatitis. I just got diagnosed today by a dermatologist. I am 56 yr old and have it around my eyes, both sides of my nose, and both sides of my chin and under it too!! It took me 3 months to see a dermatologist in Canada. Meanwhile my general practitioner had been prescribing some ineffective lotions. I have to take tetracycline pills once/day, and was told not to expect much difference in my condition until about 2 months. She also told me to use Cetaphil cleanser for oily skin to wash my face (I have oily skin) but I notice you mentioned it could have parabens in it.

    • Hi Barbara. I just wanted to say be extra careful even with Cetaphil! I was using it for months before realizing it had SLS in it. The Burt’s bees one Haylee described is really good!

  10. heather says:

    thanks for posting, I live in Australia and have just been diagnosed with POD. I was interested in the products you listed to use, but I don’t think that many would be available in Australia. My dermatologist said to use cetaphil brand products and mineral cosmetics. Has anyone from Australia had any success with products that they would like to share the information. Good luck to all sufferers, it is just terrible to have an outbreak, you feel so self conscious.

  11. Wonderful Article and Great list!! I finally self-diagnosed after a few dermatologists were not sure and only wanted to Rx some topical steroids! Have you found info in your personal research about healing this from the inside out- foods, herbs, supplements, etc? Thanks!

  12. I have found a toothpaste at Walgreens – Ology Well Being for $3.49 that has no harmful chemicals but does have fluoride. It is paraben and SLS free. I am a little concerned that it contains fluoride because I read this could cause the POD. What are your thoughts about the fluoride?

    • I’ve read that as well. I know some people have to avoid it. For my particular case (no one seems to be exactly the same), I can use fluoride IF the toothpaste has no whiteners, SLS, or parabens, but not everyone can. On the other hand, I’ve heard some can deal with the sls, but they can’t have fluoride.

      • The best I’ve found is Jason Sea Fresh toothpaste- it’s SLS AND fluoride-free and it actually leaves my mouth feeling cleaner than regular toothpaste! Highly recommend it.

        As a general comment to everyone, I wanted to say, having been diagnosed with this, learning about the ingredients in everything and reading articles that always introduce some new hazard for PD to look out for (one website said it’s the fluoride in my WATER. What am I supposed to do about that??) kind of stressed me out even more. So anyone at that place right now, just focus on the basics and try not to stress about everything because you really don’t have control over everything. And I know it’s incredibly embarrassing to be in public with this but I’ve found once I get that initial look of semi-disgust from someone, if I just start talking to them normally and put on some fake confidence, they treat me like normal pretty quickly. Most importantly, just know that you will get through this. Positive thoughts!

  13. I’d like to add my list of safe products for perioral dermatitis. First and foremost, any sufferer would do well to purchase a bar of pure African Black soap which is found at health food stores. It should be brown, lumpy in appearance (even if cut into a square or circle) and have a mild, earthy smell. If it completely black or smells like fragances, it’s likely not the real thing. African Black Soap (or ABS) is gentle, produces a lot of foam, and treats the skin in a variety of ways including cleansing, gentle exfoliating, astrigent, and moisturizing. Women in africa have been using it for thousands of years and I swear by it. Be patient and use for several weeks to get the full effect.

    You will need a serum or moisturizer. Any chemical free one from the health food store will do but I chose Burt’s Bees moisturizer for sensitive skin. It stings less than any other moisturizer, is light, non-greasy, and very effective at getting rid of the dry scales. I live in Alaska where it is cold and dry in the winter time so argan oil is my favorite to use for my hair. I use Renpure argan oil shampoo and conditioner. It is affordable, available everywhere, and is guaranteed to not have any suplhates, parabens, paraffins, hydroxides, bleach, or ammonia. My body wash is pretty limited now to Dr. Bronner’s magic castile soap in lavender for the bath and of course, ABS for showers. I used to use Jason Aloe vera body wash until I discovered that it also contains Laureth Sulfates (how dissapointing). Again, here is my list:

    - African Black Soap
    - Renpure Argan oil shampoo/conditioner
    - Burt’s Bees products (any)
    - Avalon Organics shampoo/conditioner
    - Dr. Bronner’s Magic soap
    - Pure aloe vera gel (any brand that is 99% pure aloe)
    - diluted tea tree oil (one drop per fluid ounce of water and don’t buy it unless it comes in a glass bottle)

    The rest is up to time and hormone levels

  14. Deysi Cook says:

    I am SOOO thankful to have come across this website! You have given me hope!! I was diagnosed with POD a week ago and was prescribed a Metro cream along with Epiduo for my acne. My deem said that in my case, it could be the change in hormone due to an IUD as well as stress. He also questioned my gum chewing habits which I keep gum in my mouth at ALL TIMES!! He said that there have been studies that link mint/cinnamon flavoring to a possible cause of POD. The mint/cinnamon is not just limited to gum but toothpaste, candy, etc that comes in contact with my skin. He recommended any fruity gums if I feel the need to chew. I know it is so difficult to feel confident and feel positive but I have a big group of prayer warriors on my side and I pray/hope for God’s healing touch!! Praying for all of ya’ll!

  15. Thank you for posting! I’ve been using the Yes to Blueberries products for a few days and already feel a difference. Have you ever tried the other scents? I bought the cucumber eye makeup removing wipes and love them too. My perioral dermatitis only happens around my mouth, mostly the bottom.

    • Hey Lauren! Yes, I’ve tried the carrots and cucumbers now. :) I like both of those as well as the Blueberries. Blueberry is still my favorite, but I don’t mind getting the others if it’s in stock. I don’t recommend the grapefruit though because it’s a little harsh because it’s for acne. ;) My dermatitis is in the same spot. I’m glad Yes to is helping!!!

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